Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword/postscript


It has been a very long time since the publication of any volume dedicated solely to space trajectory optimization. The last such work may be Jean-Pierre Marec's Optimal Space Trajectories. That book followed, after 16 years, Derek Lawden's pioneering Optimal Trajectories for Space Navigation of 1963. If either of these books can be found now, it is only at a specialized used-book seller, for “astronomical” prices. In the intervening several decades, interest in the subject has only grown, with space missions of sophistication, complexity, and scientific return hardly possible to imagine in the 1960s having been designed and flown. While the basic tools of optimization theory - such things as the calculus of variations, Pontryagin's principle, Hamilton-Jacobi theory, or Bellman's principle, all of which are useful tools for the mission designer - have not changed in this time, there has been a revolution in the manner in which they are applied and in the development of numerical optimization. The scientists and engineers responsible have thus learned what they know about spacecraft trajectory optimization from their teachers or colleagues, with the assistance, primarily, of journal and conference articles, some of which are now “classics” in the field. This volume is thus long overdue. of course one book of ten chapters cannot hope to comprehensively describe this complex subject or summarize the advances of three decades. While it purposely includes a variety of both analytical and numerical approaches to trajectory optimization, it is bound to omit solution methods preferred by some researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpacecraft Trajectory Optimization
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780511778025
ISBN (Print)9780521518505
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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